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Rare Origin: Tour 1 (Latin America)

Posted by Tom Koren on


Rare Origin: Latin America, Tour 1

1st Stop: Costa Rica Santa Maria Coopedota - Natural Process

Starts Shipping Dec 1st, 2020, while supplies last
(pre-order to reserve)

Cupping notes: Banana/Black Cherry/Strawberry

Co-op: Cooperativa de Caficultores de Dota R.L.
Variety: Catuaí, Caturra
Region: Dota, San José, Costa Rica
Altitude: 1550 – 1950 meters
Process: Natural (dried in the fruit)

The town of Santa Maria is home to one of Costa Rica’s finest cooperatives, Coopedota. It is the world’s first certified carbon-neutral coffee exporter, but it’s much more than just a supplier with a great certification. Recently retired Director Roberto Mata built up an amazing industry, integrating social services and environmental protections while producing some of the highest quality coffee available in Costa Rica.


Coopedota’s farms stretch deep into central Costa Rica and while they produce a significant volume, they also are deeply invested in highlighting exceptional microlots. Coopedota provides members with educational opportunities in addition to access to wet and dry milling services, yet the outreach extends far beyond processing: coffee by-products are used to fuel the mechanical drying guardiolas and water use during processing is reduced by using eco-pulpers. The cooperative manages trash pickup in the city of Santa Maria de Dota, and has been able to repurpose waste into renewable forms of energy. They also roast their own coffee and operate three cafes and a cupper/barista training center.
It’s no accident that the attention to the cooperative’s members needs, the high degree of organization, and the processing precision undertaken here produce consistently delicious coffees year after year.
This particular lot is a natural process, highlighting CoopeDota’s commitment to reduce water use and expertise in precise drying protocols.


2nd Stop: Honduras Guascotoro Ubaldo González- Solar Dried Honey Organic Fair Trade - Microlot

Starts Shipping Jan 1st, 2021, while supplies last
(pre-order to reserve)

Cupping notes: Plum/Marmalade/Milk Chocolate

Grower: Finca La Joya Family Farm
Variety: Bourbon, Catuaí
Region: San Jose, La Paz, Honduras
Altitude: 1510 + meters
Process: Pulped Natural - Honey (dried in the sun on elevated solar dryers)
Certifications: Fair Trade, Organic

Ubaldo Gonzáles and his family work a 7.5-hectare plot of land in southern Honduras called Finca La Joya, which has been in his family for more than a century. Gonzáles partners with the local Fair Trade and Organic Coop, Cooperativa Regional de Agricultores Orgánicos de la Sierra (RAOS). RAOS supports Ubaldo and his family through trainings to increase yields and
improve the coffee quality. Coffee is the main source of income for Ubaldo and his family.
Copious sweetness in the form of watermelon candy, butterscotch, and clover honey greet the first sip. Plum, and soft citrus like an orange marmalade, dried date, and a hint of rose accompany a balanced body and acidity, with a long chocolaty aftertaste.

honduras-coffee-madison-wisconsin“The quality of our coffee is the direct result of the combination of geographic diversity and the meticulous work of our family throughout the production chain, from farm production, processing, drying in the sun and delivery for export,” Ubaldo Gonzáles told RAOS. “In this way, Finca la Joya is for years the family heritage, a profitable and sustainable family inheritance of organic agriculture, generating productive knowledge in a diversified way with quality and ecological balance.”

Finca La Joya is located at 1,500 meters above sea level in the mountainous area of the municipality of San José, 20 km from Marcala, in the Montecillo mountain range, one of the privileged special coffees in Central America, producing areas with a very distinguished Designation of Origin.


3rd Stop: Mexico Unión Juárez Alfred & Annette Klein Jade Centennial - Microlot

Starts Shipping Feb 1st, 2021, while supplies last
(pre-order to reserve)

Cupping notes: Caramel/Tamarind/Fudge

Grower: San Carlos Estate
Variety: Unknown Jade
Region: Chiapas, western slope of Volcán Tacaná,
Altitude: 1100 - 1350 meters
Process: Fully washed, fermented underwater for 48hrs, dried on raised sun patios

The estate is called San Carlos, located at the border between Mexico and Guatemala on the western slope of Volcán Tacaná, and it has a rich heritage that dates back to 1896. The comeback story starts in 1996 when the grandson (Otto Hotzen) of the man who planted the first coffee trees at San Carlos offered to sell the farm to Alfred Klein.
Alfred had made his reputation in the coffee world as the guy who could restore old mill equipment and his work restoring mill equipment at San Carlos impressed Otto. For the next two decades, Alfred worked hard to pay Otto, but San Carlos suffered from every possible consequence of climate disaster (wind, hail, and hurricanes), peso devaluation, and skyrocketing inflation.
At the bottom in 2004, Alfred lost ownership of San Carlos due to his inability to make the agreed payments to Otto. Alfred continued to manage San Carlos another decade for the Hotzen family and developed a strong relationship with Royal during this time. But by 2012, more than 85 percent of San Carlos had been destroyed by leaf rust.
And now the comeback story: With some financial support from Royal, Alfred repurchased San Carlos from the Hotzen family in 2013. With his gift for restoration, Alfred immediately began an aggressive plan to renovate San Carlos to its original luster, legacy varieties and vintage mill equipment all included.

mexico-coffee-madison-wisconsinProcessing coffee at San Carlos has no compromises. Coffee cherry is carefully sorted, depulped with the vintage vertical depulpers, slowly fermented for 48 hours in cold spring water, then double washed with a 48-hour soak.

There is versatility with drying strategies. Micro-lots are slowly dried on patios and raised beds, while mechanical dryers are used for drying larger lots. Although there is an abundance of spring water, Alfred has configured the mill to operate with 5,000 liters per day, which is recycled several times and then returned downstream, clean, pH balanced, and oxygenated thanks to a state-of-the-art water purification system and bio-digester.
All of these layers of efficiency are essential because weather patterns have become more and more unpredictable. Alfred also runs his own dry mill using a series of 3 vintage catadores (wind channels) to classify his coffee. He explained that cherry selection and classification at the wet mill is so good that he does not need any more equipment in his dry mill to sort the coffee.
Alfred’s wife Annette is also deeply involved in the business, handling human resource and labor law compliance for employees, as well as all the export logistics from Tapachula, including refrigerated banana containers, expediting their shipping schedule.
Alfred and Annette have done much to save their coffee business against all odds but it is no less important to recognize that two-thirds of their 370 acre estate is dedicated to crop diversification (including guanabana, cardamom, macadamia, and banana trees) and preserving natural habitat for many native species.

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